One of my challenges as a leader is making sure I communicate what I need clearly. When you give vague directions, either your staff will walk away and "try" to do what you asked, only to have it come back incomplete. Or they will walk away frustrated and do nothing because your directions were not clear.
It may seem like you are over simplifying but it honestly will make your staff appreciate it. So:
- Be specific with what needs to be completed? I want a power point presentation.
- If you aren't clear, you may get a one sheet document, a spreadsheet or a white paper.
- Be specific with when you want it completed? On Friday, at 4:30, I need the PowerPoint on my desk.
- You have 3 weeks is too vague. Those 3 weeks will turn into 3 months. I've seen it happen.
- I expect you to meet with all your direct reports, once a quarter.
- Meet with your staff. People will consider those drive-bys where they just stop at an employee's desk and say hello a full check in. Not.
Even when you think you have communicated clearly someone will misunderstand.
Written communication is even more difficult. You need to be especially careful with your tone in an email. You may think you aren't coming across as harsh but your directness may be interrupted as rude. Add Please and Thank You to all your communications and hopefully, it will soften the blow.
And if all else fails, don't worry about it 'cause you're the boss. Smile.